Sparky. That’s what we’ve renamed her because when we try to say her name we mispronounce it and it sounds like a very nasty word in Khmer.
Short black hair, big dark eyes: just darling, especially when she smiles. The peppy sweetness of the name really suits her now, but not when she first came here.
An orphan from Svay Pak, she stayed with a family whose mistreatment was unfathomably inhumane. If there was any food left over after the family ate, they would throw it on the floor, and she would have to scramble and fight the dogs to get anything. After contracting head lice, they shaved her head which is culturally humiliating. The community sneered at her and called her degrading names.
The absolute worst part was that the family would sell her for sex whenever they needed money and allowed strangers to rape her. Sparky was only 6 years old.
Pastor Chantha and his wife, Bunthen, found out about her, and called ARC. When she first arrived, she wouldn’t raise her head or look at anybody. At meal time, her head was always down low to the table, protecting herself and her food.
One day a house mom offered her some food, and she just stared and looked dumb struck; she wouldn’t take it. When the mom walked away and left it on the table by her, she grabbed it and ran from the table ninja-like. An adult offering her food?…It was unthinkable to her, and it certainly hadn’t happened very often in her very short six years.
Day by day she has become more relaxed and confident knowing she is in a place that loves her. I met up with her at one of the water coolers, one that has a hot water tap, and she was there with a bowl of ramen noodles to make herself soup just clicking her chopsticks away. She looked up and gave me a big smile, “Hey Nana!” It just choked me up because here she was so confident just making a snack in the middle of the day.
It is because of God’s grace and his love and provision flowing into Cambodia through you that little Sparky is eating, and learning, and laughing and playing and thriving, and she knows it’s because of Jesus and people like you. She is one happy girl.